No one likes to think about their pet being harmed, but unfortunately, house fires are unpredictable and can happen at any time. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and include your pets in your emergency plan to help keep them safe.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), 500,000 pets are affected by home fires every year. That’s why the AKC and ADT Security Services joined forces and declared July 15 to be “National Pet Fire Safety Day.” This day helps spread awareness about fire safety and educates pet owners with helpful prevention, escape, and rescue tips to help ensure the safety of their family and pet.

Check out these pet fire safety tips from Thomas Labs® to help keep your furry friend safe!

  1. Pet-proof your home. Around 1,000 fires are started by pets each year, which is why pet-proofing your home is so important. You should walk around your home and look for areas where your pet might accidentally start a fire, including loose wires, space heaters, stove knobs, and other potential hazards. It’s hard to believe, but large-breed dogs have been known to turn a stove knob while looking for food. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cooktop is the #1 cause involved in your pet starting a fire. 

Additional tip: You can remove stove knobs or use stove knob covers to help prevent accidental fires!

  1. Extinguish any open flames. You should never leave your pet unattended around an open flame. Pets are curious and like to investigate candles, fires, and cooking appliances. Plus, an excited pet may inadvertently knock a lit candle over, especially if you have a cat! That’s why it’s so important to extinguish open flames before leaving your home. 

Additional tip: Using flameless candles, which use light bulbs instead of flames, is a safer alternative to real ones.

  1. Develop pet-friendly escape routes. In the event of a fire, you should have a planned escape route. Once you have developed your pet-friendly escape routes, you should practice them with your pets to ensure they will work and familiarize your pet with the process. 

Additional tip: Having your pet’s leash and/or crate in an easily accessible spot can help you evacuate the house quickly!

  1. Be careful with water bowls on wooden decks. Many people probably wouldn’t consider the possibility of their pet’s water bowl starting a fire, but leaving a glass water bowl outside on a wooden deck can be a hazard. The sun’s rays can filter through the glass, heating up the water and igniting the wooden deck beneath it.

Additional tip: Stainless steel and ceramic bowls are safer alternatives if you plan to have them on a wooden deck.

  1. Use Pet Alert window clings. Putting a rescue alert sticker in your window can alert rescue members that your pet is in your home. You should write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information will help rescuers and save them time when locating your pets. Not sure where to find rescue alert stickers? Check out the ASPCA website, which offers free emergency pet alert stickers by simply filling out an online order form. 

Additional tip: Keeping the information updated on your pet alert window clings is important! This helps firefighters and rescue workers know the accurate number of pets in your home.

  1. Communication is key. It’s essential that you communicate your plan to family members and anyone else who might care for your pet, like a pet sitter. Making sure your family is prepared and practicing your plan will help ensure an efficient escape in the event of a fire. 

Additional tip: Communicate with family members where to put pets when they leave them home alone. Keeping your pets near your home’s entrance can make it easier for firefighters to find them.

Planning ahead and including your pet in your emergency plan will help ensure your pet is safe if a home fire would ever happen.